In 1991, the country of Georgia declared independence from the Soviet Union. Its people have been wracked with violence ever since, and young people are especially traumatized. There are few resources to help them.
PlayWrite, Inc is a Portland, Oregon based non-profit that transforms the lives of youth ‘at the edge’ using the power of performance in art. Two NGOs in Georgia, Social Change Supporters (SCS) and the Georgian Centre for the Psychosocial and Medical Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (GCRT) want to replicate PlayWrite Inc.’s successful intervention model for youth in Georgia.
Backing this project will bring a group of dedicated women from the SCS and GCRT to a 16-day training intensive in Portland, Oregon. With your support, they will learn to lead PlayWrite's life-changing workshop, helping to heal youth who have experienced trauma in Georgia and the South Caucasus region. Your contributions are fully tax-deductible.
ABOUT THE WORKSHOP
PlayWrite workshops pair youth one-on-one with trained coaches. The workshop is a deeply challenging and emotionally supportive process that creates a safe place for participants to write a play rooted in their own emotional experiences. On the final day of the workshop, the writers direct professional actors in a performance for a live audience. Throughout the process, new connections form in the brain and life trajectories shift in positive directions. Read more about our workshop process.
PlayWrite’s curriculum has been rigorously crafted, tested over ten years, and research supports its efficacy. The workshop curriculum has been rigorously constructed with traditional theater exercises, assembled in specific ways based on recent research advancements in interpersonal neurobiology and experimental psychology. A study by researchers at the University of Oregon and the Oregon Health and Sciences University shows major gains in self-regulation and other significant psychological markers for PlayWrite grads. Completion rates for the program are 90%, which is remarkably high for adolescent interventions. And in perhaps the biggest testament to our work, a 2012 study found 100% of graduates recommend PlayWrite to their peers.
We're currently working on expanding the reach of this tried-and-true model to make it available to youth everywhere -- Project Georgia is a giant, ocean-bounding step toward this goal!
Our connection to this small, beautiful, and culturally rich country began a few decades ago.
In the early 70s, PlayWrite's founder and Executive Director, Bruce Livingston, was teaching Anthropology at Pahlavi University in Shiraz, Iran. His best student, Manouchehr Shiva, went on to receive his PhD in Anthropology from the University of Washington. In 2012, Manouchehr became a Fulbright Scholar in Tbilisi and became enchanted with all things Georgian.
After watching Bruce's TEDx talk on YouTube in June 2013, Manouchehr instantly saw how PlayWrite’s model could be of immense value to Georgian youth. Manouchehr reached out to his mentor and asked how this process might be replicated. Excited by the possibility of sharing PlayWrite, Inc. internationally, Bruce responded that it was doable and would take a team of passionate, smart and sensitive individuals with grit and perseverance to realize this endeavor.
Manouchehr tapped into his Georgian network and a groundswell of over 240 individuals expressed interest in bringing PlayWrite to the region. After much conversation, it was clear that the Social Change Supporters and the Georgian Centre for the Psychosocial and Medical Rehabilitation of Torture Victims are perfectly suited to replicate PlayWrite's model.
About a year ago, Bruce and Lyndsay Hogland (Program Director) went to Tbilisi to meet with five incredible women from SCS and the GCRT. After witnessing their work in Children's Houses (group foster homes where 10-12 children are cared for by 2-3 adults), Bruce and Lyndsay were confident this partnership would be a success.
SPREAD THE WORD!
Please email, tweet, like, tumble, Snapchat, Instagram, Pin and Digg this link! We are so grateful for your support. No matter how much you're able to pledge, one of the very best ways to help Project Georgia is to get the word out. THANK YOU!!! #PlayWriteProjectGeorgia
WHO WE ARE
Bruce Livingston, Founder and Executive Director -- Connecting with youth at the edge using theatre since 1996, Bruce established PlayWrite, Inc. in 2003 to pursue this passion. Bruce holds degrees from Reed College and the University of Chicago, both in Cultural Anthropology.
Lyndsay Hogland, Program Director -- Lyndsay is immensely proud to be a founding member of PlayWrite. With a behind-the-scenes background, Lyndsay has served as the Production Manager, Technical Director and Stage Manager for multiple event, theater and dance companies.
Mariam Amashukeli -- Mariam is a founder of Social Change Supporters. She holds a BA in Sociology and an MA in Anthropology, and has a background in art therapy.
Elene Japaridze -- Elene holds a PhD from the International PhD Program in Gender Studies, Tbilisi State University, an MA in Social and Political Science and a BA in Psychology. As the Senior Researcher at the Center of Social Sciences, her research focuses on youth, gender equality, and the health of women and children.
Tina Javahishvili -- Tina started with GCRT as a volunteer, while studying psychology at D. Uznadze Institute of Psychology, and later received a Master's degree in Psychotraumatolgy from Ilia State University.
Anka Jgenti -- Holding a psychology degree from D. Uznadze Institute of Psychology, Anka was among 3 NGO-workers permitted to help juvenile detainees after the Georgian government declared zero-tolerance towards crime, including juveniles, in 2006.
Nato Kvavilashvili -- With GCRT since 2005, Nato holds a BA and MA in Psychology from Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University and an MSc in Social Research from the University of Edinburgh.
Sopho Vasadze -- Sopho holds a BA in Psychology and an MA in Anthropology-Interdisciplinary studies from Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University.
Risks and challenges
An obvious risk is that Mr. Putin could decide to attack Georgia again, but we believe that risk is low. There is also a risk of disrupted air travel, which would require rescheduling. Again, we believe that this risk is low, and rescheduling could be successfully accomplished.
Cross-cultural initiatives are challenging! In the year of work leading up to this project, we have dealt with many challenges head-on, such as translations of curriculum materials, compliance with government protocols and directives, and the like. The Georgian team has already received the necessary government clearances for the project, and established strong relationships with organizations serving youth in Georgia. The members of the Georgia team are all fluent in English, which is an essential asset.
Images by James Colhoff Jr; Dodge & Burn Studios
Project Video Music:
"Lost Time" & "Carefree" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
- (30 days)